Belgium was not on my top places to visit this year until I was asked to travel there on a business trip and found that it was an absolutely amazing to visit with lots of art and culture! I am so glad that I was able to visit this amazing country.
I went to Brussels, it is a 2 hours train ride on the Eurostar from London and a 1 hour+ non-stop flight so it’s another great weekend away destination. Here are some amazing facts about Belgium! So start packing your bags…. 😉
1 – Belgium Chocolates – There are so many chocolatiers in Belgium, it is magical and buying chocolate there is commonly phrased to be like “choosing an engagement ring”. They even have a Chocolate Museum! Belgium produces around 220,000 tonnes of chocolate every year and the world’s biggest chocolate selling point is Brussels National Airport! No, not Switzerland!
2 – Heart of Europe – Brussels is commonly known as the Heart of Europe. Brussels is not only the capital of Belgium, but also the capital of European Union (EU) and houses the headquarter of NATO. That’s why Brussels is called the “Heart of Europe”. Infact, there is a popular attraction called Mini Europe which is it is the only park where you can see miniatures of the most famous sites and scenery in Europe and basically have a short tour of Europe in a few hours! http://www.minieurope.com/
3 – Official languages – There are 3 official languages in Belgium (French, Dutch (Flemish) and German. Belgium is separated into 3 regions largely due to differences in language. Brussels is officially bilingual but most people speak French.
4 – Belgium Frites – Belgians should be given recognition for their “French Fries“. Foreign soldiers in Belgium saw French speaking people eating/serving fries and that’s where the “French Fries” name came from. The Signature food is Fries and Mussels (Moules frites), their fries are apparently spectacular as they are prepared in a different way.
5 – Comics – Belgium has more comic makers per square kilometer than any other country in the world. It is the Birthplace of the Comic hero Tin Tin and the Smurfs for those cartoon/Animation lovers. They even have a museum called the Belgian Comic Strip Center. http://www.comicscenter.net/en/home
6 – Delicious Belgium waffles are served – The Belgians have perfected the art of making waffles! There are 3 main varieties of Belgian waffles: Liege waffles, Brussels waffles, are usually bigger, lighter, rectangular, and eaten with various toppings like ice cream, fruits etc. and thinner breakfast galettes.
7 – Beer – Belgium has approximately 180 beer breweries. Belgians drink about 84 litres of beer each year. Most beers are bought or served in bottles, rather than cans, and almost every style of beer has its own particular, distinctively shaped glass or other drinking-container. Using the correct glass is thought to improve its flavour.
8 – New citizenships – Belgium grants the most new citizenships per capita in the world after Canada. 1.6 million people in Belgium are immigrants or children or grandchildren of immigrants. When I was in Brussels, there was so much diversity with a good number of blacks. That’s 15% of the population and has also enforced compulsory voting.
9 – Spa – The word ‘spa’ for a health resort comes from the town of Spa in Belgium the famed site of healing cold springs, where the ancient Romans experienced the health-giving springs. Sometimes referred to as the Pearl of the Ardennes.
10 – Brussels is home to many museums – For museum lovers, you won’t be disappointed! There is a museum pass which allows you visit about 30 museums. See links below: http://www.brussels.info/museum-pass/,http://www.brussels.info/tourist-information/
Lastly, I just had to chip this in! The Belgian Adolphe Sax invented the Saxophone.
Let us know if you have any things to add :-). I will write about my trip to Belgium in my upcoming posts.